Abuja — Two Indians and three Nigerians were yesterday arraigned before Justice A.R Mohammed of a Federal High Court in Abuja over alleged damage of oil pipeline in Okene, Kogi State.
The complainant, the Inspector General of Police (IG) had filed a four count charge against the accused persons.
The accused persons Fatai Afolabi, Emmanuel Igbokwe, Tukur Mohammed, Kamal Sharma, Ashok Agarwal and Prism Steel Mill Limited pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Counsel to two of the accused persons, R. Lawal-Rabana (SAN), however brought an application for bail.
He based his application on ground that the fifth accused person had chronic hypertension and had been at Force Headquarters medical centre where he was being managed adding that the doctors at the medical centre had advised that he needed a medical doctor to place him on observation.
He added that the offence to which the accused were alleged to have committed was bail able adding that charge one and two only said that they were dealing in petroleum products without authorisation and not vandalism.
Rabana further told the court that he had a bundle of invoice and waybills, which would serve as evidence of transaction between the accused persons and the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
He urged the court to take judicial notice of the invoice.
Prosecution counsel, Friday Ibrahim, however, opposed the bail application on ground that the crime committed by the accused persons was against national economy and that the section under which the accused were charged did not provide for an option of fine.
He added that the sickness which the defence counsel hinged his argument was one that could be managed.
He, therefore, prayed the court to dismiss the bail application.
After hearing arguments, the trial judge, Justice Mohammed adjourned till February 25 to rule on the bail application.
He also ordered that the accused be remanded in the prison custody pending that date.
Parts of the charge read: "That you Fatai Afolabi "M", Emmanuel Igbokwe 'M', Kamal Sharma 'M', Ashok Agarwal 'M', Prism Steel Mill Ltd and others now at large on or before the 15th day of January, 2013 within the Federal High Court jurisdiction did conspired amongst yourselves to commit felony to wit: dealing in Petroleum Product without appropriate authority or license and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 3(6) of the Miscellaneous offence Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.
"That you Fatai Afolabi "M", Emmanuel Igbokwe 'M and others now at large on or before the 15th day of January, 2013 within the Federal High Court Jurisdiction did damage the oil pipeline in Okene and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 1(7) of the Miscellaneous offences Act Cap M17 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria".